Episcopal Actors' Guild

providing assistance to NYC's professional performers "of all faiths, and none"

aka EAG   |   New York, NY   |  www.actorsguild.org

Mission

The Episcopal Actors' Guild provides emergency aid and support to professional performers of all faiths undergoing financial crisis. We are also dedicated to helping emerging artists advance their careers through scholarships, awards, and performance opportunities.

Ruling year info

1928

Executive Director

Karen Lehman Foster

Main address

1 E 29th St

New York, NY 10016 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-5563397

NTEE code info

Arts Service Activities/Organizations (A90)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We believe in the importance of art and artists in our community. However, we know that it is difficult for the performers we serve to maintain consistent employment due to the nature of the industry (shows closing, short contracts for film and tv projects). When a crisis such as an injury or illness hits, it can feel impossible for a performer to stay on their artistic path while keeping a roof over their head and putting food on the table. That's where we come in. Since 1923, EAG has been a safety net for NYC performers in crisis. Not only do we provide an emergency financial grant, we provide a variety of services to support the performer until they can find employment. In the theatre community, we are well-known as a resource where one can receive assistance without judgment. In the current period of escalating living costs and extended COVID closures, the number of applicants has significantly increased.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Emergency Aid & Relief Program (EARP)

The primary program of the Guild is its Emergency Aid & Relief Program (EARP). Through EARP, we provide expedient financial and sustenance aid to members of the performing arts community in New York City regardless of religion, race, national origin or ethnicity, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental ability, political ideology/affiliations, or language. We are an easily accessible lifeline with a goal to get people back on their feet professionally. We take a comprehensive look at the client’s finances and the possible underlying factors contributing to the crisis. When necessary, we educate our clients about and make referrals to other community resources.

We address such crucial issues as eviction, housing court stipulations, utilities shutoffs, emergency medical and dental costs, and sustenance needs (including food and transportation). We pride ourselves in being one of the only agencies committed to providing immediate emergency financial assistance, when necessary. An applicant in crisis can receive a vendorized check on the same day. Funds disbursed through our Emergency Aid and Relief Program are outright grants; the Guild does not expect repayment, services, or products in return for grants.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers

Our program was an early responder to the HIV/AIDS crisis, helping many stricken individuals during those critical first years. In 1998, we further strengthened our support of this community by establishing The HIV/AIDS Program under a separate budget line, ensuring that PWA applicants do not have to compete with other clients for access to our limited resources. Currently, 20% of our Emergency Aid and Relief Program budget is earmarked for our HIV/AIDS clients.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
People with HIV/AIDS

As part of our EARP, clients are eligible to receive free, nutritious, high-quality, non-perishable food items from our Actors Pantry when they are here for other support services. This on-site, volunteer-supported program started in 2014 in response to an increasing number of clients reporting a lack of food for themselves and their families. Because we value the privacy of our clients, we make this service available by appointment. I

In the average year pre-pandemic, we helped approximately 300 people and their families annually with this service. Due to COVID-19 and extended closures of arts and entertainment venues, food insecurity in our client population is at an all-time high. (1 in 4 people in NYC report food insecurity since the pandemic started, compared to 1 in 5 pre-pandemic). We have observed that performers over the age of 65, those with disabling illness, and those with small children have been at particular risk of experiencing food insecurity. In our most recently completed fiscal year (April 1, 2020 - March 31, 2021), requests for food assistance MORE THAN TRIPLED with EAG providing food to more than 900 performing artists and their families through the Actors Pantry.

When we closed our physical office, and, as a result, our on-site food program, due to New York State's PAUSE order in mid-March 2020, EAG immediately reimagined how our Actors Pantry could ward off hunger for performers in need. EAG is now able to feed people by providing either a $50 grocery store gift card or a $50 grocery delivery order once every two weeks for as long as their need persisted. Providing sustenance assistance in this way kept everyone safe and gave increased agency to our clients, allowing them to select what food items they need (including nutritious fresh foods like fruit, vegetables, milk, etc.), rather than limiting them to the shelf-stable items that were regularly stocked in our physical pantry.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers

Started in 2012, EAG's Headshot Project provides free, professional photographs to clients who have previously received assistance from EAG’s Emergency Aid & Relief Program, giving them a valuable and necessary tool for advancing their careers. This project grew out of the Executive Director's observation that the headshot photos used by her clientele were often outdated and no longer effective in obtaining work; however, the cost of new headshots was often beyond their means. Our Headshot Project has grown from 3 partial days in April 2012 to 6 full days in 2021. To date, EAG has provided 375 local performers with free professional headshots.

The goal of EAG’s Headshot Project is for clients to finish the process with an excellent, ready-to-go headshot that will help them book their next gig. Clients are provided a session with a professional photographer and a professional make-up artist. Each client receives all their full color, digital shots via Dropbox (or DVD) with free retouching on one photo. We’ll even recommend options for where to go affordable, good quality reproductions.

Due to the pandemic, this program was put on pause in 2020 but EAG is bringing it back in May 2021. EAG has been paying close attention to CDC, NYS, and NYC COVID-19 safety guidelines. In 2021, we will be shooting OUTDOORS and introducing many new safety protocols so everyone on both sides of the camera can stay healthy.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers

Each December, EARP provides fifty $150 grants yearly for our Children’s Holiday Fund to the young children of our clients experiencing a crisis during the holidays.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
Children and youth

Each year, scholarships are awarded to five students at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and to one theatre student at the University of Missouri (in honor of George C. Scott).

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
Students

Each year, EAG partners with a local theatre company to present staged readings of three new works by emerging playwrights, with one being given a $500 award.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers

These free, monthly afternoon career development and self-care workshops are held in Guild Hall for clients and supporters. Auditioning, Meisner Technique, Alexander Technique, Tax Tips for Performing Artists, Money Smarts for Women, Affordable Housing, Social Media, Meditation, Nutrition, Working in Voiceovers, Shakespeare Monologues, and The Art of Cabaret.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers

EAG takes pride in our ongoing effort to find new ways to support NYC's performing arts community. Understanding how challenging it is for emerging theatre companies to find affordable space for creating work, we are proud to offer the Open Stage Grant. Through this program, two active and emerging theatre companies are chosen to receive 6 weeks (8 hours per week) of free time in our historic theatre space. With this time, the recipient will be able to rehearse and present a work of their choosing. The residency culminates with 4-8 performances, all of which are ticketed and open to the public, with proceeds being split evenly between the grant recipient & the charitable programs of EAG.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

For nearly one hundred years, EAG has been helping to bridge the inevitable gaps that happen in performing arts careers so these artists can keep working in the career of their choice. We know that artistic careers are "real" jobs and we provide a toolkit so that NYC's performers can have longevity in their industry.

Our clients are professional performers (actors, singers, and dancers) who have an established and ongoing theatrical career of at least 5 consecutive years. (For performing artists who have retired or gone on disability, we consider the active portion of their career.) To qualify for assistance, an individual must live in one of the five boroughs of New York City or in the surrounding metro area.

We help people regardless of religion, race, national origin/ethnicity, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, age, physical/mental ability, political ideology/affiliations, or language.

Our primary program is the EMERGENCY AID & RELIEF PROGRAM (EARP) which provides emergency financial assistance and counseling to performers, helping to address such crucial issues as eviction, housing court stipulations, utility shutoffs, emergency medical/dental costs, and sustenance needs.

Through our ACTORS PANTRY (est. 2014), clients can select nutritious food staples to help them weather their crisis. People can choose which foods they want as well as how much they receive and how often they receive it.

EAG was an early responder to the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 1998, we strengthened our support of this community by establishing our HIV/AIDS PROGRAM. Currently, 20% of our EARP budget is earmarked for those clients living with HIV/AIDS, who require unique, ongoing help, ensuring that these applicants do not have to compete with other clients for access to our limited resources. In 2017, our board voted unanimously to raise the maximum annual grant for our HIV/AIDS, senior, and disabled clients from $750 to $1000. 15% of our overall clientele are living with HIV/AIDS. 14% of our overall clientele are seniors age 65+.

Through our CHILDREN'S HOLIDAY FUND, the EARP provides 50 supplementary $150 grants annually to the young children of our clients who are experiencing a crisis during the holiday season.

We also work to help our clients to achieve their career goals. In 2012, we introduced the HEADSHOT PROJECT, providing free, professional photographs to clients who otherwise could not afford them. In 2015, we started ARTIST AFTERNOONS, a free monthly career development and self-care seminar series. In 2017, we established the OPEN STAGE grant, providing 2 emerging theatre companies with 6-week space grants in our facilities for rehearsal and performance.

All three team members (Executive Director Karen Lehman Foster, Assistant Director Rebecca Lovett, and Office Manager Jamie Soltis) have backgrounds in both arts non-profits and performance and continue to develop their skills via seminars. Because we are a small organization, we are easily accessible and personally responsive to NYC's performing arts community.

EAG is governed by a Council of 36 men and women from different areas of the performing arts community. This group meets 5 times a year to provide oversight on our finances, major programs, fundraising efforts, and budgeting. Between meetings, EAG has a very active committee structure. Our 4 person Grants Committee provides oversight to our primary program, the Emergency Aid & Relief Program. This committee regularly meets with the Executive Director to review the details of every grant disbursed. They are also available via email outside of meetings to provide advice. Our Treasurer and Finance Committee regularly meet and review the unaudited financial report provided by staff monthly.

EAG also has a membership base (687 people) that supports our mission through individual giving, volunteering, and spreading the word about EAG. Membership starts at only $30 per year and is open to anyone interested in celebrating the talent and dedication needed to sustain a career in the performing arts.

Our community partner for nearly 100 years, the Church of the Transfiguration (aka The Little Church Around the Corner) provides our historic theatre/office space to EAG free of charge. (Value: $85,000 annually)

EAG is part of a coalition of performers’ charities that include the Actors Fund, MusiCares, and Musicians Foundation. This coalition meets monthly to provide the maximum amount of assistance to our shared clients. We also are part of a group that receives federal funding through United Way’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). We work with other EFSP agencies such as Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army.

We make fundraising a priority and have received recognition from organizations such as NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, United Way NYC, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Shubert Organization, Howard Gilman Foundation, and Sermoonjoy Fund.

EAG has been a steady force for good in the performing arts community for over 97 years. We believe we are meeting our criteria for success every day. No qualified professional performer who has asked us for help has ever been turned away.

We work expeditiously and compassionately to ensure that our clients’ needs are being addressed. We pride ourselves on being one of the only agencies committed to providing immediate emergency financial assistance. We provide the client with a vendorized check on the same day they apply and advise them on additional assistance for which they can apply.

In the current period of escalating living costs, the number of applicants significantly increases year after year. In our last fiscal year (April 1, 2019-March 31, 2020), we gave 375 grants to performers and their families. That is a 21% increase over the previous fiscal year! We gave 165 grants for rental arrears (+32% over FY18-19). We helped 108 people with utility arrears (+21% over FY18-19). We gave 60 grants for sustenance needs such as MetroCards, food, or clothing (+9% over FY18-19). And we helped 42 people with medical bills for surgeries, health insurance, and out-of-pocket medical costs (the only category of emergency assistance that remained flat year-over-year). The number of grants given to performers and their families in FY18-19 was up 12% over FY17-18; FY17-18 was up 29% over FY16-17.

We are always listening to our clients and looking for ways to help them achieve their goals.

Financials

Episcopal Actors' Guild
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Episcopal Actors' Guild

Board of directors
as of 4/15/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Anthony Newfield

Jennifer Fouché

Peter Von Berg

Fr. John David van Dooren

Suzannah Grady

Bernadette Fiorella

Mr. Mierre

Glauco Araujo

Meryl Goodfader

Louis Scheeder

Sally Sherwood

leslie Shreve

Jo Yang

Anstice Carroll

Chris Chinn

Sam Fortenbaugh

Laurel Lockhart

Leslie Middlebrook

Sarah Ann Rodgers

Betsy Ross

Amelia Anderson

Margot Astrachan

Sergei Burbank

Ruthann Daniels

Claudia Dumschat

Steven Hayes

Tyrone Henderson

Mervyn Kaufman

Richard Olson

Margaret Goodman

Reynaldo Piniella

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/25/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/25/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.